Financial Help for the Unemployed

Managing your finances while you are unemployed can be a challenge. Often, you have limited access to funds, making even normal debt payments or household expenses hard to handle. Luckily, financial help for the unemployed is available. If you find yourself running short on money while you’re looking for a new job, here are some places to turn to for assistance.

Unemployment Compensation
The first thing every recently unemployed person should do is apply for unemployment benefits. As long as you lost your job through no fault of your own and meet the basic eligibility requirements set forth by your state, you’ll likely qualify for payments.

It is important to note that, first, not everyone is eligible. Often this depends on how long you were previously employed as well as the last time you claimed benefits. Also, the amount you receive varies depending on your past salary, and the calculations are different for each state. Further, the size of your check will likely be notably smaller than you received while you were working.

Unemployment compensation is meant as a short-term solution, but it can provide you with a consistent source of money while you look for new opportunities.

In some instances you may be able to get a bridging type loan to hold you over - learn about finance for the unemployed here.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, program is run by the federal government but administered by the states. It provides cash benefits to low-income households, helping them reach a point of self-sufficiency.

Money received through TANF can be used for a variety of bills or expenses, including rent, gas, debt payments, and food. Whether or not you are eligible will depend on the requirements set forth by your state. For example, all TANF recipients must participate in work activities, but some states consider searching for a new job to qualify.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
Another government program aimed at low-income families is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP. This one is focused on providing access to food, so the funds can only be used for that purpose. Unemployed adults without children may be limited regarding how long they can receive assistance, though those with minor children aren’t typically subjected to such restrictions.

Housing Vouchers
Some low-income or unemployed individuals may qualify for the Housing Choice Voucher Program, typically referred to as Section 8. This program is run by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and helps low-income families gain access to safe, affordable housing. Typically, you’ll be expected to contribute 30 percent of your income to rent, but unemployed adults can still be eligible.

However, the waiting lists for these programs can be long, and preference is given to households that are either currently homeless or on the brink.

Charities and Non-Profits
Short-term financial assistance may be available through a range of charities or non-profits, like the Salvation Army. Help is typically offered for a single instance of hardship, and a job loss can qualify as such a situation.

Support may be provided as a cash payment or fund directed toward a specific bill. Help with food and clothing may also be available, as well as job search assistance or training. To see what may be available, you’ll need to contact organizations operating in your area.

As you can see, there is financial help available for the unemployed. Explore the options above to see if they can provide the support you need while you search for a new position.

In addition to the above, learn about other financial assistance programs and where to apply here.